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Prepare your company to enter global value chains

Learn some of the best practices to achieve integration into value chains, in terms of preparation, logistics and certification.

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Published by ConnectAmericas

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Whether as producers, suppliers, supervisors or consumers, women are present throughout the value chain. However, women-led companies are still underrepresented as suppliers.

On the one hand, contracting companies lack knowledge and experience on how to integrate women-led enterprises into their value chains, while women entrepreneurs face specific difficulties in accessing markets, financing and formalization.

These limitations translate into missed opportunities. According to a UN Women study, companies with a higher supplier diversity index generate one-third above-average returns on the cost of their sourcing operations.

To promote greater integration of women-owned or women-led businesses in value chains, there have been proposals aimed at companies. But in this article we want to talk about what you as a businesswoman can do to take advantage of these inclusive practices and incorporate yourself into the value chains of large companies.

If you are interested in participating in the procurement processes of large companies and governments and want to know what your company needs to join their supply chains, read on.


The minimum requirements for any supplier company

Joining the value chains of large companies or governments is an opportunity for business growth. But it does not happen from one day to the next and a fundamental aspect is that your company is prepared, that is, that it can comply with the documentation, certification and process requirements that your customers will request.

Consider that a company can be a supplier to large buyers at different points in its supply chain, since the supply chain encompasses all the activities involved in bringing a product or service to the end user, from the receipt of raw materials for production to the distribution of the product.

So the first step is to identify where in the supply chain your company could sell the products or services it offers.

Once you have identified the above, let's talk about the requirements to be met in order to join a supply chain. Although not all large companies and government institutions ask for the same requirements, there are some that are transversal to all sectors.

Depending on the area of the company to which they relate, these minimum requirements are:

  • Regarding your company: document of incorporation of the company, tax compliance and registration and granting of licenses and permits by the authority.
  • Regarding your company's representative: power of attorney that accredits him/her as legal representative, official identification.
  • Regarding your finances: account statements, annual turnover level.
  • Regarding your banking information: institution, type of account, account holder and currency, bank statement cover page, bank account certification.
  • Regarding your products or services: catalog of products or services, demonstrate your operational capacity as a supplier company.
  • Regarding your people: number of employees, compliance with permits and records related to labor legislation and social security.
  • Regarding your customers: list of customers for the last two years.
  • Regarding your quality: compliance with quality specifications, certifications. 
  • Regarding your insurance situation: insurance (types and insurance companies).

Also consider your company's administrative documentation, which will allow you to demonstrate that you have a strong organizational structure capable of managing important projects with large clients.

It is worth remembering that an indicator that helps to generate a good reputation, as well as access to more opportunities, is to comply with your fiscal obligations and be up to date with your tax situation.

Keep in mind that some requirements depend on the laws of each country and the type of product or service being marketed. If you do not have some of these requirements, take this information as a guide to implement the ones you need. 

Here you can download a tool to keep in mind and verify if you comply with the general requirements that companies ask for (Downloadable Lesson 7).

Certifications that give certainty

Having a certification is important both for your company and for your potential buyers, as it allows you to demonstrate that you comply with regulations and quality standards in your processes. It is also an opportunity to access and position yourself in different national and international markets. Certification is also a strategy to add value to products or services and opens the door to new business opportunities, commercial contacts and connections.

The purpose of certifications is to demonstrate to the market, buyers and regulatory bodies that you comply with the quality and environmental care requirements defined in the regulations.

But not all certifications are the same. They can be for products (for sectors such as food, textiles or hygiene) or services (for sectors such as commerce, tourism or maintenance).

Find out what kind of certifications you can obtain with this tool (Downloadable Lesson 8).

Attention to logistics management 

For companies that want to sell their products or services to large buyers, logistics management is fundamental. This implies having a good supply, an optimal production and an efficient distribution in cost and quality. 

Remember that the key to a company's logistics management is customer satisfaction. That is why when you seek to optimize customer service in your logistics chain, you achieve better planning, improve your company's internal and outbound logistics management and increase your competitiveness. 

Do you want to improve your company's logistics management? Download an action plan guide to achieve it (Downloadable Lesson 9).

Are you ready? Now make yourself known

Preparing your company might be overwhelming, but remember that it is a fundamental step if you want to position yourself as a supplier to large companies.

Take the time to get all the documentation you need as well as to implement proper logistics management in your business and get the certifications you require. We suggest you review Module 2 of the ConnectAmericas Supplier Development Program-PDP, where you can delve deeper into the topics in this article and find resources that will help you in your preparation stage.

Once you have completed your company's preparation, it's time to look for sourcing opportunities. Learn more about how to identify and take advantage of them in this ConnectAmericas article (Link to text 4 of this series).

We recommend that before you go out in search of new opportunities, you do your research and get to know who is responsible for purchasing in large companies and what their needs are. Also, familiarize yourself with the supplier contracting processes of the companies you are interested in doing business with.

Now you are ready. It's time to take advantage of all the knowledge you have acquired to demonstrate that you understand your customers' needs and that your company is ready to meet their requirements. Position yourself and make yourself known as an expert in your sector.

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